Justice, we all want it. Here’s what justice is and how to go about it.
Justice is the application of conformity to ethics. Since we need guidelines, a code of rules to regulate our behavior we then need a way to adhere to that code. I’ve entitled that adhesion: Justice. In very general terms this is an equitable respect for people in their adherence to the accepted moral code.
(Audit of Humankind, chapter 2.9)
The new equation with all five elements of how humans function now looks like this:
This has far-reaching implications and becomes more and more complex. Here’s why.
Take the second and fourth human functioning factors we’ve discussed: free will—to do whatever we please—and ethics—to encompass what we can do. The fine-tuning of these two should institute correct behavior and a moral society.
Here’s a real-life example. As I write this we’ve just finished the 2018 Football World Cup. Football rules or etiquette at the table are just a bunch of regulations and they don’t mean a thing unless they’re applied by football players and diners.
Application of rules involves discipline and obedience. There, I said it. In a society that is first and foremost based on liberty and freedom those two words—discipline and obedience—sound very hostile and rather antipathetic. But, whatever epitaphs, we want to use or whatever thoughts we might think, the adherence to and application of rules—justice—is a necessary piece in the way to peace and prosperity.
On the football field, there’s a referee and 3 assistants. This year there was also video to catch split-second actions that might escape the keen eye of a referee. He is responsible for one thing only: the correct application of football ethics (the rules). He is responsible for justice on the football field. He is responsible to see that the free will of the 22 players is within the ethical boundaries. The players can use all their skills and muscles to dribble and tackle their opponents so long as it’s within the code of football ethics.
Justice is the mastering of one’s human nature and free will to apply the code of ethics for a satisfactory behavioral outcome. Click To Tweet
Justice is the mastering of one’s human nature and free will to apply the code of ethics for a satisfactory behavioral outcome.
The easiest and simplest way would be that each of us disciplines our own selves. Otherwise known as self-discipline. We all know people who follow rules, one might even say naturally. They do it willingly and are peace-seekers.
There are two distinct and vitally important aspect of justice: Prevention and Rehabilitation.
This is the initial stage. When learning to drive a car, a student is not immediately put in the driver’s seat. First, they read the handbook—the driving code of ethics including all the rules to be respected so everyone can be safe. There’s always a test of these rules and instructors make a point of addressing them in real-life driving situations.
This initiation into the handbook-of-life is the role of parents with regard to their children. This is their contribution to the preventative preparation of their children to integrate society. To live alongside and with other kids and adults. This prevention includes teaching obedience to societal rules. This is a huge role which we in the West have abdicated thinking that it is up to school teachers, coaches, and other authorities to instill in our children. Error, it’s parental responsibility to train their own children to control their human nature, free will so as to respect a code of conduct that will produce decent acceptable behavior.
Education of ethics is essential. Sports, clubs, camps, school, parties… are all situations where kids, young people, and adults are together and are all practical places for exercising their ethics AFTER they’ve been taught the theory.
I will be returning to this vital subject of parenthood in the next chapter on How Humankind Socializes.
Sanctions and Rehabilitation.
However, there are those that buck the justice system, in one way or another, and to a more or lesser extent. How do you handle this situation in the absence of self-discipline? What do we do with disobedience whatever form and degree it might take: naughtiness, breaking rules, noncompliance, insubordination, rebellion, theft, lying all the way to murder?
Before I broach this let me come back to World Cup Football / Soccer. The referee can and does sanctions actions like tripping, unsportsmanlike conduct… with free kicks, penalties, a yellow card and even a red card if the infraction of the code of ethics warrants it. A red card means expulsion. The player has to immediately leave the field and cannot return for the entirety of the game. They may even be suspended from playing further games depending on the severity of their foul.
Sanctions are degrees of penalties, punishments, deterrents for disobeying a law or rule.
Whereas prevention takes place pre-behavior, sanctions take place post-behavior.Sanctions are degrees of penalties, punishments, deterrents for disobeying a law or rule. Whereas prevention takes place pre-behavior, sanctions take place post-behavior. Click To Tweet
Justice means our society has decided on some sort of sanctions for non-application of the rules. Depending on the level of absence of observance of the ethics this can involve parents, teachers, coaches, referees and go on to controls by police, sanctions by judges and juries with punishments from deprivations to exclusions all the way to fines, prison sentences and beyond to the death sentence in certain jurisdictions.
There are various types of sanctions: I remember my teacher’s ruler coming down on my knuckles, being caned, deprived of tournaments, facing the wall, being put in a corner, being sent to my room (No, I wasn’t an angel). A number of those sanctions including spanking, deprivation, corporal punishment have even become bad buzzwords.
Sanctions and their application are a way of life specific to humans. Humans alone need to have a justice system of correction and application of penalties in order to maintain law and order to obtain a semblance of peace and prosperity.Sanctions and their application are a way of life specific to humans. They alone need a justice system of correction and penalties to maintain law and order for a semblance of peace and prosperity. Click To Tweet
Role of Sanctions and Justice
In this expose of How Humans Function my intention is to draw the broad picture. What the role of sanctions is and what they should ultimately accomplish: Peace and Prosperity, both for society, the victim, if any, and particularly the offender. Yes, there’s an offender and yes, something reprehensive has been done. Justice can lead to sanctions, which are only one of the aspects of justice. They must be used wisely.
With regard to the effectiveness of sanctions, that is not a point I intend to broach here. Here’s an article that refers to the ravages of offenders minds when in solitary confinement.
Obviously, such extreme practices along with brutality and torture should not be part of the sanctions panoply.
- Discipline is not ‘vengeance’
- Discipline is not venting one’s fury or anger on an offender
What sanctions and disciplinary measures are for:
- Discipline is to prevent offenders from further perturbing their environs
- Sanctions should include some sort of retribution of the offended party
- A proper part of discipline is the rehabilitation of the offender.
In fact, this last point is the most important goal of all. If we want true peace and prosperity then offenders must be helped to reintegrate society. I agree that’s a tall order in some cases and certainly not always possible. What then?
Rehabilitation is a process that can take the rest of a lifetime.
We now have TV reality programs, dealing with wayward kids or teenagers when they bring in Supernanny or Big Brother. They run offenders through a program, generally very challenging, to get them to wake up to their wrong behavior. There is a whole process, which I will not enumerate here, of rehabilitation which ends happily with a reuniting of offenders with parents. This rehabilitation generally includes parents, who are also offenders in their own way, learning how to assume their roles as leaders of the family.
I want to make one specific point regarding small children who, because of their not yet developed mind, are too young to really understand the relationship between ethics, discipline as part of justice, and family peace. Yes, Supernanny tells them, shows them and helps the kiddies to be obedient but they don’t really understand any of the why. Once rehabilitation has taken place the kiddies and the whole family get the benefits—peace—which the kiddies appreciate in their own way but don’t grasp either the process or the why they need to be orderly.
What really has happened is that no prevention was practiced by said family. With that in mind think about the order of events to peace: discipline (properly applied) comes first and that leads to peace. When a kid is running toward a road and the parent shouts stop … the kid might not know why (a truck is headed its way), but the kid should obey that order. Obedience comes before understanding … later the mind will develop understanding, until then, and even afterward… obedience comes first.
Don’t believe this? Well, I ran across and watched an old film entitled The Miracle Worker—the story about the initial encounter of Helen Keller—blind, deaf and dumb—with her lifelong teacher and confidant, Anne Sullivan.
Now, here’s a question with a little exercise—if you have access to the internet.
Question: What do you think of this statement from Anne Sullivan?
I have thought about it a great deal, and the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge, yes, and love, too, enter the mind of the child.
I suggest you take a look at this short film The Miracle Worker. It illustrates this entire chapter on how man functions, especially how this functioning interacts when, in this case—five main characters are involved: Father, mother, son, daughter, and Helen’s teacher.
Prisons are overflowing worldwide and authorities are pulling their hair out. These are not places of peace and officials involved in justice know it’s a huge seemingly unsolvable societal problem. Justice is bankrupt.
We have very little of this today. Much more could be said but the point here is to show how justice is an essential part of the equation of how humankind functions.
Many hard questions are involved in this justice-equation. As part of our audit, all these questions need not only theoretical answers but practical application.
- How do we help people develop self-discipline? Self-control?
- How do we restore people who are not disciplined to re-enter the realm of discipline?
- Who decides when and how to discipline?
- How quickly should justice be applied? In the home and in criminal courts.
- Who decides what discipline and what degree of discipline to apply?
- What do you do with people who will ultimately not learn to auto-regulate themselves?
- Is there a point of no return? Somebody so set in their ways that no help will turn them around, or bring them back to reason?
- What if an individual/group has crossed this point?
- Whose rights receive priority treatment: Societies or individuals?
- We’re all human beings … how many codes of ethics do we need? Should justice be the same for all humankind?
The point of The Explanation is, of course, not limited to only HOW to establish peace and prosperity everywhere on Earth… but how to have humankind, of their own free will, accept and apply rules so that we’d have a worldwide moral society. This would be utopian!! But, this is where The Explanation is taking its readers… and it will reveal all the steps to ultimately achieve this goal. It will happen.
This blog post is an excerpt from chapter 2.8 from the book Audit of Humankind,
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